The first openly gay professional boxer will be this year’s Grand Marshal of Chicago’s 49th Annual Pride Parade.
Orlando “El Fenomeno” Cruz, who represented Puerto Rico in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, came out in 2012. He was one of the first athletes to be inducted into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame in 2012, according to Go Pride.
“I want to be true to myself,” he said. “I want to be the best role model I can be for kids who might look into boxing as a sport and a professional career. I have and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and always will be a proud gay man.”
In 2016, Cruz won the World Boxing Organizational Featherweight title.
Cruz will be honored by the Puerto Rican Cultural Center as King of the Chicago Puerto Rican People’s Parade on June 16.
The Pride parade is scheduled for 12 p.m. on June 24.